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DC-GENERAL  August 2008

DC-GENERAL August 2008

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Subject:

Re: non-literal values; qualified or simple DC

From:

Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 06:29:53 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (138 lines)

Andy, taking off from your blog post, where you say:

"Because if the topic is treated as a non-literal value then it can be 
assigned a URI and can become the subject of other descriptions.  If the 
topic is treated as a literal value then it becomes a descriptive 
cul-de-sac - no further description of the topic is possible."

I agree with this, but it kind of begs the question of assigning those 
URIs and communicating about them, which I think is one of the problems 
that we face today. It comes down to that fact that just assigning a URI 
isn't enough to make the Web of linked data work. There needs to be a 
good way for people and programs to discover those URIs and understand 
what they represent. To me this is the primary barrier. If I am creating 
a catalog for my users and I harvest records that have URIs in the 
subject fields, I need to easily be able to know 1) what I can display 
to my human users so that they can understand what the subject is 2) 
what to index so my human users can do a search and retrieve what they 
are looking for.

URIs are for machines. Taking care of the humans will require more than 
a URI. We need to define what that "more" is and how we will make it work.

kc

Andy Powell wrote:
> For the record (1)... I think the use of 'coterie' is somewhat unfair
> (at least in the sense of a 'clique'), since I don't see anyone trying
> to be exclusive - quite the opposite in fact... but I take the point
> about not many people in DCMI being well placed to answer the question -
> which is a serious issue for DCMI I would suggest.
> 
> For the record (2)... I no longer consider myself part of any such
> 'coterie' but I've had a go at answering anyway.  See
> 
> http://efoundations.typepad.com/efoundations/2008/08/the-importance.html
> 
> Fundamentally, the importance of non-literals vs. literals lies in our
> ability to build a Web of *linked data* (to use the currently accepted
> term) based on assigning 'http' URIs to things that are useful to us in
> describing the world (concepts, places, people and the like), something
> that I think the library community have been very slow to recognise,
> despite the fact that they sit on a vast array of data, knowledge and
> expertise that would be highly valuable in this space.  This is a great
> shame IMHO.
> 
> Andy
> --
> Head of Development, Eduserv Foundation
> http://www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation/
> http://efoundations.typepad.com/
> [log in to unmask]
> +44 (0)1225 474319 
> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: General DCMI discussion list 
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Coyle
>> Sent: 15 August 2008 17:51
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: non-literal values; qualified or simple DC
>>
>> Karen,
>>
>> I suspect the members of the small coterie that could explain 
>> this are all on vacation at this time. I am not in that 
>> group, but I will attempt an explanation anyway ;-)
>>
>> Reading the dcterm:subject entry, I can see that there is an 
>> expectation that the term will be part of a context -- the 
>> context may be an authoritative list that it must come from, 
>> or it could be a combination of a list and rules, such as one 
>> gets with LCSH, LCC or Dewey. Any term that gets a value from 
>> a context like that is considered non-literal in the DCAM 
>> sense because the context needs to be included in the formal 
>> description of the term. This is somewhat like the 6XX fields 
>> in MARC where the indicator (or $2) tells you which 
>> vocabulary the subject heading belongs to.
>>
>> That said, this definition seems to exclude the possibility 
>> of uncontrolled subject terms, which you mention. Leaving 
>> aside the DCAM (which is often puzzling), it seems to me that 
>> you need a way to indicate 1) whether or not the values in 
>> the subject field are controlled and 2) if they are 
>> controlled, what list they come from. I don't think that 
>> DCTERMS alone provides this capability, although you could 
>> possibly create it by using these value "patterns":
>>
>> 1) a character string alone. This would represent an 
>> uncontrolled subject term or terms.
>> 2) A URI for the subject term. This is only an option if the 
>> term itself has a URI. I can imagine URIs for things like LCC 
>> or Dewey looking something like:
>>     http://www.oclc.org/dewey/ddc22/973.13
>> 3) A URI for the subject *system* plus a string for the 
>> subject heading or term.
>>     http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/  "Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors"
>>
>> I'd love to hear other takes on this because I think it 
>> probably has been amply discussed in the DC development process.
>>
>> kc
>>
>>
>> Karen Arcamonte wrote:
>>> I'm currently involved in the selection of standard fields for a 
>>> metadata project and we have some fields that we are calling Dublin 
>>> Core fields (Subject and Relation fields), but we are 
>> including free 
>>> text or uncontrolled terms. I notice that the DC Subject 
>> and Relation 
>>> fields are "intended to be used with a non-literal value." I'm not 
>>> sure what this means. Is there anyone that can explain in simple 
>>> terms? I've looked at the DCMI Abstract Model and I'm still 
>> not sure what they mean by "non-literal"
>>> value. Also, can you say you are using Qualified Dublin 
>> Core for some 
>>> fields and Simple Dublin Core for other fields in an 
>> application profile?
>>>
>> --
>> -----------------------------------
>> Karen Coyle / Digital Library Consultant [log in to unmask] 
>> http://www.kcoyle.net
>> ph.: 510-540-7596   skype: kcoylenet
>> fx.: 510-848-3913
>> mo.: 510-435-8234
>> ------------------------------------
>>
> 
> 

-- 
-----------------------------------
Karen Coyle / Digital Library Consultant
[log in to unmask] http://www.kcoyle.net
ph.: 510-540-7596   skype: kcoylenet
fx.: 510-848-3913
mo.: 510-435-8234
------------------------------------

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